As everyone and his dog has had a word or two to say about Jon McLaughlin, we must admit we on Ibrox Noise may look like we’ve been targeting the goalie.
And it is true we don’t rate him. Anyone with any sense can tell he isn’t a Rangers class goalkeeper – not his fault, but just a fact.
Hence the criticism has to be the decision by Gio to make him first choice, despite no evidence he was good enough to make that step up.
Remember the good old days at Man City, where the goalkeeping tussle between Joe Hart and Shay Given led to the Irishman quitting, after the second choice was given the jersey. It turned out a decent piece of management, given the-then 23-year old was on the rise and close to being England’s number one.
Let’s just say 34-year old Jon Mclaughlin isn’t quite at that level, with a career spent in England’s League One.
In truth, genuinely, we actually like McLaughlin – as a deputy or even third choice. He’s a solid enough goalkeeper at low end football, like early cup rounds or a visit from bottom-feeders in the SPL.
But as soon as the level spikes up, he is out of his depth – true, he did ok v Lech Poznan in the UEL and had the finest night of his career in Holland (albeit they were fairly routine saves for a half-decent goalie) but when the real pressure hit him at Parkhead he collapsed.
And that’s on Gio, not McLaughlin.
It was Gio and the club who made McLaughlin the first choice, overlooking the extremely promising Robby McCrorie who had ALREADY shone in an Old Firm, and Allan McGregor who can be relied upon for the big occasions.
Did McGregor sign his new deal knowing he would only be used in domestic cups? Surely he wouldn’t have signed on for that?
And McLaughlin had already been awarded a new two-year deal earlier in the year so his next 24 months were sorted.
As we have repeatedly said, we’re well aware ‘there were another 10 players out there’ (which seems to be the new buzzphrase to justify a substandard goalie) but at the end of the day, it would have been better to blame them for being rotten and praise the goalie for at least getting us a point with some fine saves.
And that was Gio’s call, no one else’s.